In the past two weeks, House Republicans have repeatedly offered amendments to Senate Bill 309 which would have allowed a school corporation to transfer money from various funds to the school general fund in an amount equal to, but not greater than, those cuts that have been enacted due to state budget shortfalls - providing the school corporation agrees to protect teachers from being laid off.
The amendments represented a great deal of work and compromise, and most of the language had received bipartisan support in a subcommittee charged with coming to a consensus on the issue. The goal all along has been to give schools flexibility during the current fiscal crisis.
Rep. Walorski and the rest of the House Republicans wanted to do everything possible to maintain class sizes and protect teachers from potential job loss.
Unfortunately, the majority party refused to accept the House Republican proposals as presented. Furthermore, they did not support teacher job protection or giving school corporations the flexibility they have been asking for.
After a significant time spent in subcommittee trying to reach a compromise, language was thrown into the bill at the last minute which returned the very partisanship the subcommittee had worked to overcome.
Last night, House Republicans tried one last time to amend the bill to protect teachers' jobs.
Amendment #13 specified that school funding flexibility would be available only to schools which have not laid off teachers, rather than those that have not laid off any school employees.
Rep. Walorski (R-Jimtown) spoke in favor of the floor amendment to protect teachers' jobs.
"I have been working diligently to ensure teachers do not lose their jobs if the school corporation decides to take advantage of the flexibility in funding," said Rep. Walorski. "Our first priority should be to protect teachers' jobs, and unless the school corporations has explored every possible alternative, I don't want to see administrators taking pay raises while teachers are walking out the door."